Operation Beachhead Brings Disabled Vets, Civilians To The Beach For A Day

SPRING LAKE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Summer is officially here — which means it’s time to break out the sunscreen and hit the beach, but it’s not that easy for some.

An event in Spring Lake gave injured vets and civilians the beach day they’ve always dreamed about.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, Wednesday was no ordinary beach day. Operation Beachhead held an event for those who wouldn’t normally be able to go to the beach let alone go in the water.

“I started this because I was born with spinadifida,” Beth Kelley said.

Kelley is a full time wheel chair user who said she was never a water person because she didn’t think she could be, but look at her now.

“Before I knew it I was on a board out in the ocean for the first time surfing and I fell in love with it,” she said.

Operation Beachhead started with one volunteer and grew to dozens helping out on this very special day.

Bruce Boyle helps with the surfing.

“You see some great smiles, giant smiles,” he said.

And founder Michal Ricci is a Vietnam vet with a mission to help many.

“Children and adults with special needs, veterans and active duty troops,” he said.

James Bellamy came with other disabled vets from the East Orange VA.

“I haven’t been nowhere near water since I’ve been injured,” he said.

It’s a day the group looks forward to every year.

“I love finally being able to go back in the water again,” Renee LaChapelle said.

They said it’s a freeing feeling being out there knowing you are in good hands.

Operation Beachhead offers winter sports days too.

 

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